US: Rhode Island groups warn against constitutional convention fearing anti-gay repercussions
A coalition of human rights groups held a press conference on Wednesday in Rhode Island calling for the defeat of a measure to allow a constitutional convention in the state.
The groups argued that a convention would open the door to the rights LGBT people, women, minorities and immigrants being targeted by proposals.
The groups argued that a question to allow an autumn ballot on the issue should be defeated.
Among the groups was the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which often advocates for LGBT rights.
ACLU policy specialist Hillary Davis argued that similar conventions in other states have been used to block the rights of gay and lesbian people and band abortion.
“That is what we can expect to see in Rhode Island, and more,” she said.
Others have expressed hope that voters in the state would do the right thing and vote down amendments to take away peoples’ rights, but then question why money is spent by the state on such measures.
Advocates for the convention argue that it is necessary, in order to consider items such as forcing the General Assembly to abide by ethics rules and having the state governor and lieutenant governor run as a team.
If Rhode Island holds a constitutional convention, it will be the first state in 30 years to do so. It has held eleven before.
The state’s Governor Lincoln Chafee has said he thinks voters should consider approving a measure to allow a convention to take place.